The 5 Best Places and Times to See Bald Eagles in Virginia

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: November 16, 2023
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Bald eagles are brave, large, and majestic birds. They symbolize freedom, tranquility, and courage. It’s hard to look away from a bald eagle. In the United States, bald eagles are making a comeback! There are currently about 316,700 bald eagles in the lower 48 states. Alaska has the most breeding pairs of bald eagles than any other state. Still, in Virginia, if you’re lucky, you can spot quite a few! Follow along to discover the best places and times to see bald eagles in Virginia. 

Are Bald Eagles Common in Virginia?

Bald eagles aren’t incredibly common in Virginia, but there are at least 1,100 breeding pairs. You can mainly find these wonderful birds along rivers and lakes, breeding or fishing. Thankfully, bald eagles are no longer considered Endangered in the state as their numbers are increasing. At the state’s lowest, there were only 30 breeding pairs. 

Pair of Bald Eagles Perched in a Bare Tree Chatter

Bald eagles have been removed from the Virginia List of Endangered and Threatened Species.

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When Is the Best Time To See Bald Eagles in Virginia?

Bird watching is a very popular activity and hobby in Virginia. The best time to see large birds like eagles, hawks, and falcons is during fall. However, bald eagles are yearlong residents in this state, so you have a shot of spotting them regardless of the season. Bald eagles are especially common in the state from January to June. According to Ebird, bald eagles are more uncommonly spotted in July and August.

The 5 Best Places To See Bald Eagles in Virginia

You won’t run out of places to visit to potentially see a bald eagle. You may even see one while walking around in your neighborhood, or traveling to a local lake/creek. Still, although they are found across the state, here we have the five best spots to see bald eagles in Virginia. You may even see other bird species like common goldeneyesmourning doves, spotted sandpipersred-shouldered hawks, and eastern screech-owls.

american bald eagle soaring against clear blue alaskan sky

In Virginia, there are an estimated 1,100 pairs of breeding bald eagles.

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1. Mason Neck State Park

Sunset at Mason Neck State Park VA

The Mason Neck State Park in Fairfax County covers about 1,856 acres and is a great spot to see bald eagles.

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The first spot on our list is the Mason Neck State Park in Fairfax County. This lovely 1,856-acre park is best known for its thriving bald eagle population. You can especially see these fantastic birds in the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge. The best time to see bald eagles in the park is early mornings by the lake. Keep your eyes on the trees and see if you can spot a nest!

Mason Neck State Park isn’t just bird-watchers’ favorite dream but offers lots of family-friendly activities, including hiking. The park offers 3 miles of paved multi-use trails, a kayak and paddleboard launch, and a visitor center. The park is open from 8 a.m. to dusk.

2. Kiptopeke State Park

Beach at Kiptopeke State Park in Virginia.

The best spot to see bald eagles in Kiptopeke State Park is the Bald Eagle Boardwalk.

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Another place to see bald eagles in Virginia is the Kiptopeke State Park in Northampton County. Not too long ago, a rehabilitated bald eagle was released at Kiptopeke State Park. Your best chance of seeing a bald eagle is in the early mornings or the later evenings, right before the sun sets. Visitors can walk along the short 0.2-mile Bald Eagle Boardwalk to view wildlife and the scenic beach. In the mornings, you may also see ospreys, hawks, and dolphins. Not only can you use this state park during the day, but also rent a camping site for multi-day use. The park is also home to 5.1 miles of hiking and biking trails.

3. Caledon State Park

A popular hiking trail in Caledon State Park is the Boyd’s Hole Trail.

©Wikipelli, CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Another perfect state park in Virginia to view bald eagles is Caledon State Park in King George County. This lovely state park is a summer home for many American bald eagles. It’s very shady and has a surface area of around 2,587 acres. Visitors can also learn more about bald eagles by visiting the state park’s visiting center. A popular hiking trail for bird watching in the park is the Boyd’s Hole Trail. It’s a short and easy 3.4-mile loop that takes about an hour to complete.

4. Leesylvania State Park

An early morning sun-star shining through the trees at the fishing pier of Leesylvania State Park in Virginia along the shores of the Potomac River.

During the summers, Leesylvania State Park frequently reaches maximum capacity.

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Next on our list is Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge, Virginia. This wonderful state park is an excellent place to look for bald eagles. You can spot these majestic birds hiding in trees, but move quietly, as bald eagles have excellent hearing and take off when frightened. Leesylvania State Park is a very popular spot in summer, so popular that it frequently reaches maximum capacity. While here, you can visit the Visitors Center and the New Aquatic Nature Center and Store. However, the New Aquatic Nature Center and Store is only open on the weekends.

5. Westmoreland State Park

Kayaks beached on Fossil Island, Westmoreland State Park, Virginia.

In Westmoreland State Park, visitors can search for ancient shark teeth.

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Also in Virginia is Westmoreland State Park within Westmoreland County. It’s an excellent place to visit if you’re going to go bird watching, not just for bald eagles. The park runs along the Potomac River and has a surface area of around 1,321 acres. Westmoreland State Park is open daily from dawn to dusk, while the park office and Visitor Center are open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Mondays through Fridays. Some other birds you can find in this park are kingfishers, great blue herons, common terns, and gulls. Apart from hiking and bird-watching, visitors can also spend time searching for ancient shark teeth along the Potomac.

Summary of the 5 Best Places To See Bald Eagles in Virginia

#Location
1Mason Neck State Park
2Kiptopeke State Park
3Caledon State Park
4Leesylvania State Park
5Westmoreland State Park

The photo featured at the top of this post is © WebGuNet/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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